Keeping Fresh: Whether to Buy Canned, Frozen, and Dried Foods

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to use fresh or canned, frozen or dried food, such as the availability of fresh food and the amount of time you can allow for food preparation. One of the principles of eating vegetables and fruits is seasonality. So, let’s figure out when and in what form it is best to use products.

In most countries, fresh fruits and vegetables can be found in grocery stores all year round. Moreover, even tropical products are delivered to Russia, which are available to us at any time. But it is not known when this product was assembled. And most likely, it was collected still unripe, and was already ripening on the way to us.

Other fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and others, are best bought in summer and autumn when they ripen naturally. In winter and spring, greenhouse vegetables and fruits come to our shelves, often generously fertilized for faster ripening. Have you noticed that winter tomatoes do not differ in taste and smell, but are similar to plastic ones? Yes, they are beautiful, glossy, even, but all this is not an indicator of the quality and benefits of the fetus.

Many do not trust canned, frozen or dried foods, believing that only bad vegetables, fruits and berries are sent for processing, flavored with chemicals and other harmful substances. However, this is not quite true. Or rather, not at all.

Canned food

Controversy over canned goods has not subsided so far. Yes, under the influence of high temperatures, vegetables, fruits and berries die not only microbes, but also vitamins, proteins and enzymes. There is also an opinion that canned products cause acidification of the body.

However, canned food is not exactly “empty” food. They still retain proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, oils, fatty acids, and so on. But it is worth remembering that most canned foods contain a large amount of salt, and sometimes also vinegar and sugar. The solution is simple and clear: everything should be consumed in moderation.

It is very important to read the composition of canned foods. It doesn’t matter what you buy: tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, fruits in syrup or legumes. In the case of vegetables and legumes, only the vegetables themselves, water and salt should be in the composition, and spices may also be present. Fruits are most often poured with hot syrup with sugar, so it is better to be even more careful with them. By the way, fruits are gradually beginning to appear on store shelves, preserved not in syrup, but in freshly squeezed juice.

Canned beans are a great way to save time. Chickpeas, beans, lentils – all these products can be found on the shelves already in finished form. No need to soak anything and cook for a long time. Take this opportunity, but it’s better to leave beans or lentils in tomato sauce on the store shelf, because in addition to salt they also put sugar, flavors, thickeners and other additives that our body does not need.

Frozen food

Freezing is a more gentle way to preserve the product. However, even at shockingly low temperatures, useful substances tend to oxidize, which makes foods less useful than fresh ones, and the amount of vitamin C drops the most. But one way or another, freezing is a great way to preserve vegetables, fruits and berries without using additional additives. And producers freeze already ripe fruits, so the issue of not ripeness can be considered closed.

But reading the composition is a healthy habit these days. Some manufacturers still manage to add sugar to frozen berries and fruits, and salt to vegetables. So be sure to check what is written on the label. Also carefully examine the packaging itself and its contents: if vegetables, fruits or berries stick together, then they have already been thawed and re-frozen. Also pay attention to the date of manufacture and the expiration date of the product.

Do not be afraid of frozen fruits, especially in the winter-spring season, when the body needs vitamins, macro- and microelements. Despite the fact that freezing still kills some substances, such products are still beneficial for the body and can diversify your diet.

dried foods

If vegetables, fruits and berries are dried whole at low temperatures (and ideally in the sun), they practically do not lose their beneficial properties, with the exception of water. But if they are cut, flavored with sugar, salt, sulfur dioxide and other substances – that’s another story. The calorie content of dried fruits with the addition of sugar can almost quadruple.

Therefore, it is worth giving preference to whole fruits, dried naturally without the addition of preservatives. It is quite easy to understand whether sulfur dioxide is present in the dried fruit: pay attention to its appearance. A naturally dried product is not distinguished by its brightness, beauty and glossy surface, natural dried apricots cannot be orange, a tomato cannot be red, and a raspberry cannot be bright pink. Opt for dried fruits and vegetables that don’t look very appealing and have a matte surface.

Ekaterina Romanova

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